Walgreens has become the latest national company to allow people to choose what bathroom they wish to use without regard to what their biological sex might be.
Walgreens changed their policy after a customer said that an employee wouldn’t let the customer use the ladies room because the customer was ‘dressed like a man.’
Jessie Meehan was on her way to a Los Angeles LGBTQ pride festival last year when she stopped at a Walgreens in Hollywood. After spending approximately $20 in the store, she asked a sales associate to open one of the bathrooms for her. Meehan said the employee refused to allow her in the women’s restroom and instead insisted Meehan use the men’s facility. The store manager, according to ACLU SoCal, agreed with the sales associate and denied Meehan use of the women’s bathroom.
“I am a woman. I identify as female,” Meehan said in a video posted to ACLU SoCal’s website and YouTube. “She can’t tell me which one to use. It’s illegal to do that.” In the video, Meehan discloses that she’s been discriminated against her whole life due to her appearance, but this was the first time she decided to do something about it.
After being denied, Meehan then used the men’s room but went to an ACLU booth at the Pride festival and complained to them about what had occurred.
The ACLU then “began a series of discussions” with Walgreens. This led to the “Transgender Inclusion” policy to be used in all their 8,000 stores nationwide.
“All individuals have a right to use restroom facilities that correspond to the individual’s gender identity, regardless of the individual’s sex assigned at birth,” the new policy, dated Nov. 21, 2017, states. “Walgreens family of companies subscribes to a policy of non-discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression/presentation.”
Amanda Goad who handled the case for the ACLU said it didn’t just apply to transgender people, but all people who appeared ‘gender non-conforming.’
From LA Times:
Although Walgreens specified the policy was for transgender individuals, it applies to all individuals. Goad said gender discrimination relating to bathroom usage is not just a transgender issue and that it’s relatively common for women who are perceived as gender nonconforming to be questioned or challenged on their way to the women’s restroom.
“In an ideal world, the best policies apply to everyone because it’s not exclusively a transgender issue and having staff speculate who or who might not be transgender doesn’t help anyone,” she said.
The policy change did not go over well with many who saw it as a license to allow men in the ladies room.
[Note: This post was written by Nick Arama]